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Stewart McPherson tracks Down Vale players of the days gone by
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Name  Paul Bridgeford
Date of Birth  27 September 1973
Occupation Operations Manager
Briefly outline your football career prior to joining Deveronvale.
 Played for Torry Boys Club, Aberdeen Lads Club and Albion Rangers at youth level. 

Was a Schoolboy signing for Aberdeen and then turned professional between December 89 to May 93 and also played for Scotland at Youth level.
Which year(s) did you play for Deveronvale? Who signed you for the club, and what attracted you to join ?
Joined the Vale in the summer of 1993 and was with them for two seasons until the summer of 1995. The Manager that signed me was Neil Mclennan who was there until around March 1994, with Colin Massie and Jim Watson taking care of things until the end of that season. The summer of 1994 was when Kevin Bremmer took charge. 

The main attraction was the opportunity to play on a really good park with a club that was showing ambition.
What are your fondest memories of your time with the club?
The long away trips to Brora, Wick and Fort William were always good as the journey home generally meant the banter was good with a few drinks and whether we won, drew or got beat, we were always the best team in the league. 

The squads I played with from 93-95 were a good bunch of lads that got on pretty well. I remember one Wednesday night before a Peterhead match at home in the 94-95 season, Rico and myself were meeting up with some of the other lads at the Greentrees Pub in Dyce. We were a bit early so Rico and me decided to go in and keep warm, the only decent thing to do is have a pint and maybe a second, followed by a third, we went up the road and I don’t know if the drink had an effect but we beat Peterhead 2-0 and I managed to score a goal ! 
 
What is the most memorable game(s) you played in for Vale, and why?
The game that has fondest memories is the Aberdeenshire Shield final in 94 which will always stick in mind as we upset the odds by beating Cove (plus I got the winner from the penalty spot).

The other game that sticks out is the 4-2 win against the Mighty Elgin under John Teasdale in the 93-94 season in the Qualifying Cup. They were a good side but we made them look fairly average that day.
Who were the characters at the club ?
As most folk would probably say the same thing, Rico was the character at the club around that time as he always had a joke or a good answer to some question. Even better was that he always managed to baffle the manager with some excuse to not chasing back without getting a rollicking like the rest of us did.

One game that brought a laugh was when we were playing Lossiemouth away. I knew quite a few of their team as it was guys from Torry and the banter was normally good. On this day, Mark Strachan got himself sent off and decided to sit in the dugout until Neil McLennean told him this wasn’t allowed. The next thing, one of their supporters was giving Strachan abuse so he decided to take off over the wall and chase him. We thought the poor guy probably got a hiding, but low and behold he apologized and the two of them were in the social club when we got there, best of mates and buying each other drinks.
Who were the best players you played with at the Vale and why?
There were quite a few whilst I was there but Kevin Bremner had vast experience that helped a young squad, Bradley Kerr and Nigel Montgomery had great ability and Stevie Dolan was consistent with performances every game. 
And who were the best players you played against, and why?
The Huntly and Ross County teams around that time were exceptionally good and being a midfielder, I found Gordon Connelly (County), Steve Lennox, Eddie Copland and Dave Morland (Huntly) the most difficult opponents to get the better of. These guys were talented and experienced players and it made it a difficult game as they had played in the league for a few years and knew their way about a bit.
What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale ?
I spent 2 years at Peterhead, followed by 6 months at Buckie. Due to a change of jobs I ended up offshore and couldn’t play which was disappointing.
What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?
If I’m not down at Old Trafford to see Manchester United I tend to be either out with my dogs or watching Gillette Soccer Saturday for the results coming in (obviously the Vale).